Graeme McDowell was not surprised to see the amateurs give the professionals a run for their money at St Andrews this week.
Irishman Paul Dunne started the closing round as joint leader, while England’s Ashley Chesters and Americans Ollie Schniederjans and Jordan Niebrugge all featured near the top of the leaderboard on the final day.
The Northern Irishman, who finished on four-under 284 after a final round of 70, believes the strong amateur game will result in younger winners on the PGA and European Tours.
He said: “There’s a belief they can compete now. Youngsters have a readiness to do it that wasn’t there when I turned pro.
“I’m maybe a bad example because I hadn’t been to a professional tournament until I played in one. I didn’t have any exposure.
“I played with Ollie Schniederjans and he’s already been in half a dozen events with the pros.
“They come out ready to win big tournaments. The bar has been raised by Tiger Woods and then Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. Players don’t have to be in their late 20s to be able to compete. They can do it right this second.”
McDowell played in the Great Britain and Ireland team that defeated the United States in the 2001 Walker Cup at Ocean Forest.
Luke Donald, Marc Warren, Nick Dougherty and Michael Hoey were among McDowell’s team-mates and they all went on to feature on the European Tour.
But the 35-year-old does not believe amateurs should hang on to play the Walker Cup if they believe they will receive enough invitations in the pro ranks to earn their card.
Scotland’s Bradley Neil, who won the 2014 Amateur championship, made the decision to turn pro after this year’s US Open instead of waiting to play in September’s Walker Cup at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
McDowell believes the boost in profile Dunne received after his week at St Andrews could tempt him to make the switch.
McDowell added: “The Walker Cup is one of the fondest memories of my career but it means nothing when you press the professional button.
“He needs starts and this could give him a chance to get his European Tour card. Those six or seven weeks could be beneficial.”